The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has disclosed that the non-approval of the $30billion Foreign Loan request by the Federal Government, by the National Assembly needed to construct the Standard Gauge Rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, has been stalling the projects.
Ameachi, made the disclosure in Abuja on Wednesday, when he appeared before the Senate Joint Committee on Land Transport, Local and Foreign Debts, chaired by Senator Gbenga Ashafa and co-chaired by Sen. Shehu Sani.
The Minister who was called upon to explain the allegation by South East leaders, that the region was excluded in the on-going revitalization of rail projects by the Federal Government, assured Nigerians, especially those from the South East geo-political zone, that every zone will benefit from the Standard Gauge Rail line being constructed by the Federal Government across the country.
He further made it clear that the projects were not abandoned but have been slowed down due to inadequate funds to proceed.
“We didn’t abandon any rail project. All the projects are there. The truth is that we can’t go to work without funds and that has to come when the Senate approves the $30billion loan request,” he said.
While responding to questions from Senate Committee members who were present, the Minister disclosed that most of the Railway projects are to link the ports and when completed, the movement of cargos would then be made easier by Rail, thereby reducing pressures on the roads.
Also, the Minister informed that the Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri Rail line which was abandoned for about 34 years had on Monday, 26th November, 2018 commenced free test run services and it would run for a period of one month.